New PM elected by ruling party
The Council of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has elected acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn as the successor to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. They have also named Minister of Education Demeke Mekonnen as Vice Chairperson and therefore the nominee for the position of Deputy Prime Minister.
The Council of the ruling party is made up of 180 members, 45 from each of the four parties that make up the ruling coalition, the the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the South Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front (SEPDF) and the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF).
Zenawi Meles was from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front whilst Hailemariam Desalegn is from the South Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front. Demeke Mekonnen is from the the Amhara National Democratic Movement.
Hailemariam Desalegn (47) has a degree in Civil Engineering from Addis Ababa University and an MSc in Water and Environmental Engineering from Finland Tampere University. He served as an Instructor and then Dean of Arba Minch Water Technology Institute.
Hailemariam Desalegn was Vice President of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) from 2000-2002 and President of the SNNPR from 2002 -2005. He has been a member of the House of People’s Representatives since 2005 and became Government Chief Whip in 2008. Since 2010 he has been Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The result of the two day Council meeting was said to have been unanimous which means that the two men will have their names put before parliament in October for ratification. The EPRDF holds all but two of the 547 seats in the parliament.